"ABINGDON, comprises the two parishes of St. Helen, and St. Nicholas, it is a municipal and parliamentary borough and market town, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred of Hormer, in the county of Berkshire, of which it is the chief town, 6 miles S.W. of Oxford, and 56 miles N.W. of London. It is on a branch of the Great Western railway, the Abingdon-road station being about 2½ miles from the town. It consists of several large streets, diverging from the market-place, and is pleasantly situated on the Thames, where the small river Ock falls into it. In the time of the Britons it was a city of importance, and a royal residence, where the councils of the nation were held. Its earliest name was Seouechesham
(Chron. Abbend.). In the year 680, a Benedictine monastery, which had been previously founded at Bagley Wood by Cissa, viceroy of the King of Wessex, was removed to this place, which then took the descriptive name of Abbandune
, or Abbendon
, the 'town of the abbey'." (more...
From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868), transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003.
Other descriptions can be found from other periods in various trade directories covering Berkshire from the early 19th century onwards and from A Vision of Britain Through Time.